When I tell people about floating I get one of two responses. One is people have no idea what I'm talking about.. Or, people immediately respond with, “I could never float, I’m claustrophobic”.
While that may be a true statement, claustrophobia should not deter you from floating. You may feel nervous in tight spaces and the first few times you float might be uncomfortable, but there are ways to overcome this and enjoy your first float.
Floating relieves anxiety, heals pain and will help you overcome fears. This first few times may be a little uncomfortable, but the more your float, the more comfortable you will become. And we are here to help you move through that initial fear.
Here are 6 steps to overcome claustrophobia so you can enjoy your first float:
- Crack the tank door
Being in total darkness can feel confining, overwhelming and disorienting, at first. And not being able to see anything (aka the door), you might feel trapped, like you won’t be able to get out. Leaving the door cracked so you can see where it is, will reassure your mind that you are not trapped and that there is a way to out.
Leave the light on
Some float tanks have lights inside them. If you happen to be floating in this type of tank, you can leave the light on the entire float. While this may not be “sensory deprivation”, being able to see where you are can help you relax and feel comfortable in the tank, until you are able to turn it off.
Place your hands on the wall
To help orient yourself and trust that you are okay, you can stretch your hands out to the edges of the tank or lift them above your head, touching the walls. Being able to feel where you are in space can help you feel more grounded and calm inside the tank.
Focus on breathing
Floating is about meditation and calming your mind. When your thoughts or fears start to take over, come back to your breathing. Inhale for five counts and exhale for five counts. Focusing all of your attention on your breath will get your mind out of fear, help you relax, and propel you into a deeper meditation.
Take a hot, pre-float shower
Because you do shower and rinse off before any float — for sanitary reasons — use this time to calm down, relax and get in the right headspace before your float. Many of us rush through this step, because we are so eager to start floating. Instead, use this time to meditate. The warm water will help your body relax and intentionally calming yourself will relax your mind.
- YOU ARE IN CONTROL
This is perhaps the most important “step”. There is no right way to float. If you can’t go the entire time, step out. If you want a light, shine the brightest one you can find! Remember that you are in complete control in the tank, and you can do whatever feels right.
Use these tips and let us know how your first float goes at firstname.lastname@example.org. Can’t wait to hear your stories!
New to floating? Start with our free Float 101 Mini-Course.
About the Author: Monique Morrison recently graduated from college and is currently a yoga instructor who will complete a 500 hour Yoga Teacher Training in August 2017. She also co-founded ZenAF, a space dedicated to helping millennials learn how to meditate and create their most kickass life.